Cover That Shit in Cheez Whiz – The Coke Dares Tour Diary Pt. 7

The true electric company.

The Coke Dares are an American rock and roll band.  They recently wrapped up a tour of part of America.  They were kind enough to document their journey for Postcard Elba.  Just as time outside of time to rock has no meaning on tour, the diary entries are starting to come in out of order.  Embrace the chaos and lose yourself with the Coke Dares.

July 12th, 2010 – The Knitting Factory, Brooklyn – from Beach Dawg

Sometimes the feeling of a good, solid, hardwood floor in the morning is exactly what you need to remind you why you don’t always sleep on a good, solid hardwood floor. Both sides to the evening on hardwood are difficult. Falling asleep can be tough but, once your bones have adjusted to the idea that it ain’t getting any softer, everything relaxes and the hippies were right. Waking up, then, after such a relaxing, transcendental sleep, can be just as hard — you have found the perfect spot and have become the floor, and the floor is tranquil, and cool, and your new home.

Because Mark had the air mattress and the private room, and Pete and I were on the hardwood, we had made tentative plans to get up early and hit John’s Roast Pork, a Philly cholesterol stand that has clogged arteries for 80 years, and then collect Mark and hit the unfortunately named Chink’s for a cheesesteak after. That hardwood had me at “you finally fell asleep,” though, and I slept through our host, Mike “Slo-Mo” Brenner heading to work, his girlfriend Megan making coffee, Pete waking up to drink the coffee, and Mike and Megan’s daughter, Ruby, screaming about something or other. Screaming is not the appropriate word — “projecting like a four-year-old does” is more appropriate. The slow wake was pleasant and I eventually found my way to the bathroom and prepared my eyes, mouth, and hair for the long day of eating and waiting ahead. Now that I’ve said it, that about sums up tour — eating and waiting, with the occasional foray into playing music.

A four year old's way to your heart.

On the way downstairs I awoke Mark, who was in his private room, which was, somehow, about 25 degrees hotter than the rest of the house (I know from touring with him in Magnolia Electric that Mike appreciates a cold, cold, air conditioned pad). The culprit? The horribly hot and wet weather making its way into the cracked window of the room. We had missed the real heatwave a couple of weeks earlier, but it was rearing its head again.

Mark prepped, Pete prepped, and I, prepped, waited downstairs, doing whatever it was I did while waiting to eat. At some point we all reached the same place, and Ruby descended the stairs to present Pete with a gift. You see, Pete had been in town recently for a Thousand Arrows tour, and, according to Mike, Ruby had become “quite taken with him.” And who wouldn’t be? He’s like the ultimate uncle, right? Long hair, rock band, moped, and a good vocabulary — perfect. The gift she gave him was a piece of paper with four figures drawn on it. “This is Mommy, this is Daddy, this is Ruby, and this is Peeeeteeeey” she said. Pete said thank you and that he would hang it up, and Ruby, pleased, ascended the stairs, and in the faintest whisper while all-but-disappeared, said “it’s Peeteey.” We gathered our gear, and made the “it’s raining like hell” plan to get to the van without dropping anything. We get it all together and Ruby and Megan both appear to wish us a farewell. Ruby ignores both Mark and I but starts to yell “Bye Pickle!” to Pete over and over. Mark calls Pete ol’ Pickly Pete sometimes, but we didn’t realize it was universal. Megan, embarrassed, said “She just started calling Pete ‘Pickle’ after he was here last time, Pete the Pickle.” She shrugged and Ruby kept yelling, over and over, “Bye Pickle!” as we left. This would, of course, be repeated, over and over again, in the van for the remainder of the tour.

This pickle knows you always make a grand exit.

We made it to John’s Roast Pork — http://www.johnsroastpork.com/ — and Pete was the only one who braved the large roast pork sandwich. Pork, bubbling in a serving tray, served on really good bread, with a layer of spinach, cheese if you want it, and an array of peppers and onions at your disposal, too. Mark remarked that “this is good, but it’s a little dry.” I think that can be said for most of Philly’s famous shack food — and that’s why they invented fucking CHEEZ WHIZ. If you haven’t visited Philadelphia, or don’t know a local, you may not know that the reason Philly steaks are so good is because they cover that shit in CHEEZ WHIZ. Ok, I’m being unfair to John’s Roast Pork — it was dry, but it was delicious, and we will, no doubt, return.

Having powered through the pork, the machismo kicked in, and I said I wouldn’t leave Philly without a cheesteak, this while the big roast pork sandwich had barely made it past my throat. Of course, everyone agreed, and since The Coke Dares were buying, and it was on the way, and blah blah blah, we went to Chink’s Steaks. It really, truly is unfortunate that the best steak sandwich any of us have ever had is at a place that is so horribly named. Even more unfortunate is that it is also the most pleasant place we’ve been in Philly for eating steaks — table service, 62 year old diner feel, the best bread, the best steak, the best milkshakes. You can read about both the shop and the protests to the shop here: http://www.chinksteaks.com/ and http://chapters.aaja.org/Philadelphia/csteaks.html

Under all of this talk, however, is the fact that I had decided to beat any semblance of health right out of my body by eating a cheesesteak less than an hour after eating a roast pork sandwich. And we were doomed to be in traffic, as we were heading to Brooklyn, and the BQE was in our future. No matter. Cheesesteak (and milkshakes for the less stupid ones in the band, Mark and Pete) imbibed and we were off. The van smells terrible, but we set some things on fire (business cards and matches) to help with that. 95 treats us well and, voila, we’re paying $25 or $30 bucks and then we’re in NYC!

Sure tolls were cheaper back then, but then again children were also apparently allowed to drive.

We sit in traffic for about an hour on 278 and, finally, roll into Williamsburg, and, lo and behold, there’s the new Knitting Factory. And there’s a place to park! We second guess the ease with which all of this takes place, but there are no unclear signs, no construction, nothing — just a parking space, a half block from the club. We were early, but loaded in anyway, saw the new space, and immediately planted ourselves in the back stage in order to do whatever work it was we had to do. Mine had to do with history.

What a werid day job Beach dawg has.

Let me say that the Manhattan Knitting Factory was the first place I ever played in New York. I also fucking hated playing there. It was horrible. Four rooms, 16 bands a night, no place to park, no place to load, no room, carpeted bathrooms, you know the deal. The people, however, were always nice, and now they have the location to go along with that. Good for them. Soundcheck? Happened. Seeing our good friend Michael Hodges who helped us get the show and now works there? Check. Mark ran to Manhattan for some art shows, Pete kicked around the club and did what he did, I worked and ate some panang mock duck curry from the Thai place across the street. Saw a lot of friends. Saw Liquor Store, the first band, and was one of four people who did. The Shingles, the second band, had, maybe, nine more people there. We played to about 25, maybe 30 (if that), and, honestly, we could have been playing in Bloomington. They were all friends, transplants, NYC people… but it wasn’t embarrassing. It was fun. And the club was nice. And you sort of have to “do your time” in New York, good or bad. And then, if you’re lucky, you either get a place to stay that isn’t the van or you head to Jersey so you don’t have to deal with that monster of a city in the morning. We were happy to see all of our friends, we wished it wasn’t tour time so we could party, and then we hit the road. Driving out of New York at night is beautiful, and easy, and a really good idea, especially if you have an early show the next day. Straight to Somerset, NJ, to a Pricelined Crowne Plaza ($41) that had the biggest air conditioner any of us had ever seen. It was like a refrigerator bolted to the wall. We ordered a pizza. We ate pizza and drank PBR and thought happily about a well-done day.

York, PA, tomorrow. We had heard that our host had free burritos and mopeds for us to ride. We sleepily talked about how awesome it would be if he had at least three. Then we slept.

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